I have to confess to more than a slight annoyance at the lack of coverage of the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in today's press. A couple of articles in Scotland on Sunday and the Herald barely scratch the surface of what was going on. They were happy enough to mention the relatively small number of protesters who were outside, but they completely missed this story behind them.
We were expecting a fair few protests on various issues. So, it seems, were the Police, who had cordoned off a vast area around the Perth Concert Hall.
As party members, we'd been encouraged by Conference Committee to go and chat to any protesters who turned up. In fact, I know that some party people had even given them the string to tie their placards to the railings because they didn't have any. I went out to talk to the anti cuts protesters at lunch time to discover that they'd disappeared, much to my disappointment. I had earlier spent some time chatting to Royal Mail workers who were worried about the Government's plans for the organisation.
Rumours reached my ears, though, that at least one group of protesters had been offered half an hour with Mike Moore and Danny Alexander and had turned them down. I investigated some more and had those rumours confirmed by people in a position to know these things.
I don't know about you, but that horrifies me. They had two Cabinet ministers who were willing to listen to what they had to say and they knocked back that opportunity. What a betrayal of the people they say they're there to represent. Are they there to make a difference or just to make a lot of noise?
Mike and Danny did go out to talk to some people who were worried about the effects of welfare reform and other spending cuts on the services which are vital to them.
I came across this scene by chance en route from the Concert Hall to the hotel where the fringe meetings were taking place. Why the print journalists couldn't have done the same, I don't know. Maybe the red pepper and tomato soup being served inside was just too irresistible.